Jane Embury, director, looks at training and the drive towards net zero
The government has announced a target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050.
It’s an ambitious target at the heart of tackling the wold’s climate emergency.
To help meet that target, the government has set aside £4 billion in green investment. It’s hoped that will create up to a quarter of a million new green jobs.
But it’s been questioned by the Construction Industry Training Board. It says in a report that 350,000 new construction jobs will need to be created by 2028 to meet the government’s commitment.
The Building Skills for Net Zero report outlines the need for a new wave of green building specialists to reduce carbon emissions.
The government wants to invest in industries such as renewable energy, and carbon capture and storage technology. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has welcomed this commitment towards economic recovery from Covid-19.
The Construction Industry Training Board’s report says that “the move to cleaner, greener construction presents big opportunities to make the industry more attractive to new recruits and upskill the existing workforce.”
However, it says, a critical element of achieving Net Zero will be reducing carbon emissions from existing buildings. That will require retrofit work on up to 27 million domestic and two million non-domestic buildings.
By 2028, it estimates, additional decarbonisation work will have created demand for 86,000 construction project managers, 33,000 building envelope specialists and 59,000 plumbers and HVAC specialists.
The report makes clear that meeting a net zero target will require “upskilling the current workforce so that they understand what sustainable building is all about.”
There’s no doubt that the journey towards net zero is a huge challenge for the construction sector. However, it’s also a significant opportunity to create a more productive industry and attractive industry.
That will take enormous investment in skills training. It will need the right courses and qualifications to attract the right people into the industry.
The report concludes: “Government has a key role in specifying what it wants and creating the pipeline of demand that will give industry the confidence to invest in the skills we need and for providers to invest in the courses we need to deliver these skills.”
However net zero is reached, glazing systems will play a significant part. Our interior and exterior advanced glazing systems are primarily made from steel and glass. Both are entirely recyclable and made from abundant raw materials. Glass can also save energy whether as insulation or, incorporating photovoltaic cells, be used to generate electricity.
The future is undoubtedly green. Achieving net zero will take many things, not least training…and lots of glass!